Pre- Oblique Penholder Anxiety

calligraphy, supplies, thoughts

It’s peculiarly shaped, needs some adjustments, and ‘can seem as mystical as a wizard’s staff’ for the novice. Surely it’s natural to be a tiny bit anxious about using an oblique penholder for the first time.

I’ve held on using a straight pen holder since I started learning calligraphy. I can come up with several excuses. I read that Paul Antonio uses straight penholder for Copperplate. In her book Modern Calligraphy, Thorpe stated that she herself uses straight penholder for her calligraphy. I also read on the Postman’s Knock blog that straight might be less frustrating for beginners. And I didn’t know where to get one in the first place. So I kept on postponing getting the oblique pen holder. I know that someday I might have learnt enough to try it though.

I did have an idea about the oblique penholder. The tip of the nib, when placed in the holder, should be parallel to the centre of the holder (see the above image). I know that much. Now, in order to achieve this, some adjustments might need to be made to the flange. The way things progressed, the Speedball Oblique Pen Set was my only available option as far as locally available goes. Since the flange is plastic (and therefore not adjustable and won’t accommodate my non-Speedball nibs), I stuck to my ol’ faitful straight. Until an online shop offered… tada! The Speedball Metal Oblique Penholder.

I didn’t even know such a thing existed! I thought it was either the plastic Speedball or metal premium penholders that I have to order from abroad. And as they sell it singly (not with nibs in a set), I can get exactly what I need with a great price! I decided to place an order before they run out*.

So, I have not tried using it yet, for fear I will get frustrated after all. I only tried inserting some nibs to see how they fit. Ideally, of course, you would have one holder for each different nib, so you can really personalise the holder accordingly. But I will use it when I start learning Copperplate properly and Spencerian as well. Overall it seems kind of intimidating, but I might pretend unwittingness and use my curiosity and see how it goes.


*Craftic’s service is pretty good. The response time ranges from 30 minutes to one hour. Once payment is cleared, they ship your order the next working day. They provide tracking number with certain shipment service, and they bubble wrap your package.


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